This makes for my 201st blog entry for While We Can, and I am feeling pretty darn good tonight. It is not because I am making more money or planning another great adventure, but rather I am working hard at improving my health in the most serious ways my little brain can muster. As I mentioned in the previous post, my blood pressure, body weight and general health hit a wall last week; I had to make a decision about whether I would continue on one path or take another towards reversing the toll that age, diet, stress and hard work inevitably exacts. Given my passion for pushing hard through adversity, I decided to step back and rebuild my lifestyle to better suit my now active life. Frankly, if I am going to keep up with V., who is a decade younger, for as long as I can, then I had to make some changes.
Step one was to cut out the coffee and Coca-Cola mainlining through my bloodstream to keep the energy surging. Anyone who has met me knows that I give off a lot of energy during a day of teaching, and that energy carries through with my photography and travel until I collapse in a heap. One espresso on Monday morning is my new allotment, and that has worked well. The coffee has been replaced by a wide variety of herbal and black teas; only two days of withdrawal headaches and I am clear.
Step two was to decrease all of my portions, and eat the foods that I know are healthy and raw. The cold rain made me want a comfort food bonanza tonight, but I opted for a glass of red wine and a healthy portion of rolled oats with cacao nibs, goji berries and mullberries. Mac and cheese would have tasted good, but I would have felt awful in twenty minutes.
Step three has been to begin the exercise process. A person cannot expect to run a marathon in a week, but a little bit of new habits becomes bigger habitual learning in the long term. I took my annual health benefit allowance from work to buy the basic gym equipment I would need to work my whole body in the next few months: skipping rope, a gym matt, a medicine ball, boxing gloves, elastic resistance bands, and the P90X video set. I already own these great dumbells put out by Bowflex that I purchased in the summer with the previous year’s allotment, so I am set.
Last night, I started with the jump rope. If you can imagine a rhino trying to jump over a fence, then you got me. I have never been able to skip. But I am determined to change, so I spent an hour learning how – first by trial and error, and second by youtube videos that explain the proper mechanics. One hour of awkwardness got me to being able to do 10 rotations before tripping up; it also left me with two pulled calves. Nothing serious, and I did feel like I had accomplished an act of real value.
Tonight, it was P90X. I have heard about this program for a year or two, but felt it was just too expensive to “try out”. My set arrived from Sears Canada in second-hand tatters; it was obvious that another person had tried it out and returned the dvd set. Given how much time I seem to have spent this year just trying to correct shipping/customer service/product errors, I just decided to call Sears and ask for a discount, which they happily did. I could not bear to ship one more thing back in return.
The basic premise of the series appears to be to buy into the P90X cult by taking photos of yourself, buying supplements and going like hell. Like all cult-like movements, there is great wisdom to be gained from a moderate approach to what is being offered – I mean both Tony Robbins’ Giant Steps and David Allen’s GTD are cultish, but they are brilliant systems to motivate changes. Just do not drink the Kool-Aid.
My first encounter with the program was to try the Yoga X disc. I made it through the first 25 minutes, and have to admit that I liked the clear actions outlined by the trainer. V. and I like going to Moksha hot yoga classes when I am feeling healthy, so this was not too much of a stretch for me. Why not do the whole hour and a half routine? Well, I had not even planned on doing anything more than watching the intro, but then I was motivated and thought I would use the yoga to repair the damage inflicted by my previous evening’s inept skipping. The P90X just feels like it will work for what I need to do, but do not worry about me taking any topless photos of myself for posterity.
So there we are…a pretty solid start. I have lost 2 pounds of weight in my first week, lowered my blood pressure by an average of 10 points, and have few complaints. I will give the P90X a real start after I read the guides, and update when there is news to report. On the photography front, I have been asked to run the sound and video production for a musician’s university application portfolio, and that promise to be an interesting gig. The new Canon 1Dmk X camera was announced this week: it is clearly drool worthy, and would probably be the wisest body to purchase if I need to update next year. In November though, the RED Scarlet is supposed to be announced for release, and if it had optional lens mounts, then I might be wishing for a few thousand dollars to drop from the sky. V. heads to Thunder Bay in a few weeks, and while it makes me sad, I am very excited for her. Now if I could only figure out how to make oatmeal taste like poutine!